Helping Research Lead to Results
by Eric Kinaitis, Editor, AEF
Several years ago, the family of Christian Braemer was faced with a circumstance that many families dread. His four year old nephew was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare and often lethal pediatric liver cancer. Although his nephew did meet a positive outcome and became cancer-free, a different issue arose.
When investigating how to give back so that other families wouldn’t have to suffer the same ordeal, no viable pathway existed.
Others faced with a similar predicament in the past, might have attempted to build a private foundation to address the cause and engage in fundraising to build awareness and funds for research efforts. However, that path was filled with an tremendous effort in time, energy and expense.
Other choices would be to donate to a larger national cancer organization, with very little ending up in the hands of the researchers and no direct say over how those donated dollars would be used.
In the US, Americans gave over $335 billion to their favorite charitable causes …and yet only 2% of that amount was geared toward research in science & medicine.
Recognizing this disparity, Christian’s goal was to be able to fund needed research for deliverable outcomes. It was from this goal that Benefunder was born. Benefunder was created to bridge the gap between donors wanting to fund research into specific fields of study and the researchers needing funding to continue their programs.
Benefunder built a community of over 700 researchers involved in a variety of programs in health, technology, arts & humanities, environmental study and more. The research programs exist at major institutions, and span programs from basic, big breakthrough research to final-mile, proof of concept projects.
To date, Benefunder has partnered with 11 major institutions including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, UC San Diego, and Children’s National Health System, although they feature programs at over 50 major universities. Benefunder also has access to a database that spans over 24,000 researchers across the U.S.
How does a donor get involved? It starts with a donor questionnaire, assessing their charitable interest, their giving history, and more. Additionally, research programs are vetted as well, with each program having a profile detailing the research they are working on. Each program profiled is required to use funds only for the exact parameters of their profile and must provide periodic reporting on their progress.
After reviewing the donor’s questionnaire, Benefunder then provides a proposal (at no initial cost) to the donor, featuring 10-11 research programs that are geared toward a donor’s charitable interests. As part of the process, donors can interact directly with the researchers in these programs, asking them questions, visiting their research locations, and so forth.
A donor can decide on promoting one or several projects of their choice, engaging in funding amounts and timelines that fit their interests and financial capabilities.
At American Endowment Foundation (AEF), we are pleased to offer Benefunder as a granting option to our donors. Donors can make grants* directly out of their AEF Donor Advised Fund to support research projects vetted by Benefunder.
Want to learn more about getting involved in a Benefunder program through AEF? Contact us and we’ll help you with your next steps.
*An administrative fee is charged by Benefunder for each grant made.